Two species of these big, cabbage- like perennials are occasionally seen. Both have large, smooth leaves and much-branched clusters of small, honey-scented white owers. They appreciate rich, well-drained garden soil and require considerable space. In the Lower South, provide light afternoon shade.
C. cordifolia. GIANT KALE, HEARTLEAF COLEWORT. From the Caucasus. Forms a 3-ft.-wide mound of branching stems bearing dark green, 1-ft.-wide leaves on long stalks. Flowering stem set with smaller leaves can reach 8 ft. tall. Broad, branching ower cluster, up to 5 ft. wide, somewhat resembles a gargantuan baby's breath (Gypsophila). Requires a big garden and leaves a big vacancy when summer owering is nished; plug in annuals to ll the space. Use in big borders to astonish your friends.
C. maritima. SEA KALE. From coastal northern Europe. To 2 ft. tall and wide, with branched, purplish stems carrying blue-gray leaves up to 1 ft. wide. In early summer, sends up a 1- to 2-ft.-tall stem with ower clusters to 1 ft. wide. Leafstalks were once widely used as a cooked (steamed) vegetable. A favorite of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Blanch leafstalks as they grow by placing large pots or boxes over them.